PPS’ Ethan Kent will introduce and interview noted entrepreneur and OpenPlans founder Mark Gorton as he presents “Fixing the Great Mistake” this Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at the Center for Architecture in NYC.
In his talk, Gorton will question why we have allowed automobiles to transform our streets from vibrant spaces full of play, human interaction and commerce, into dangerous, stress-inducing thoroughfares and will discuss strategies for reclaiming them.
In addition to his visionary work in technology and finance, Mark Gorton has been instrumental in leading the radical shift in how New York City government approaches street design. His work has ultimately had a deep impact on how New Yorkers think about and use their streets and public spaces.
Through the creation of the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign (together with Transportation Alternatives and Project for Public Spaces), and the subsequent founding of Streetfilms and Streetsblog, he re-framed and reinvigorated a stagnating dialogue on progressive transportation planning. He strategically brought in the best thinkers and lessons from the around the world. By generating broad grassroots demand for change and empowering advocates with education and networking, the NYCSR campaign created the momentum for a significant change in leadership and approach at NYC DOT. The grassroots projects and policy leaders he energized and empowered have become the instigators and implementers of many of the livable streets improvements completed under the current NYC DOT administration. His campaign model, and the associated stories of success and infectious energy it generated are now spreading around the world.
Despite this enviable political victory, and the many clear and tangible results of his advocacy work, Mark remains passionately focused on exposing New York’s failure to limit the negative impacts of the automobile on urban life.
In his talk, this Wednesday, July 13, Mark will be looking at how we can move the current conversation about how we plan and use our public space to the next level. He is calling for fellow advocates and professionals to stop dancing around the core problem of planning for automobiles and to demand a broad and lasting adoption of livable streets initiatives.
The arguments in his presentation will set the path for the next push towards a real reduction in the number of cars in the city. Mark will outline a clear set of strategies for reclaiming a significant portion of our streets for pedestrians, cyclists, children, and neighbors.